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National Security, the Assault on Science, and Academic Freedom

A new AAUP report out today details troubling threats to academic freedom in the physical and natural sciences that have been exacerbated by the Trump administration’s hostility to science. One focus of the report is international scientific exchange and, especially, the repeated charging of innocent Chinese or Chinese American scientists with espionage in the name of national security. Another is climate science, which has been subject to vicious attacks that have intensified significantly under the current administration.  

The report’s survey of recent criminal cases involving international scientific exchange suggests that the government’s invocation of national security claims related to espionage has not been justified and is negatively affecting the ability of the United States to participate in global science.

President Trump’s executive orders restricting entry to the United States for residents of certain Muslim-majority countries and efforts to limit H-1B visas to foreign scientists pose additional, disturbing threats to scientific exchange.

The report explores how the politicization of science, rooted in anti-intellectualism and propelled by anti-elitist mantras, is constraining the free pursuit of knowledge and scientific inquiry and limiting the ability of science to serve the public good.

Learn more or read the full report here.

Best wishes,
Gwendolyn Bradley, AAUP

Marching for Science on Earth Day

“Events like this will lift the spirits of scientists. They are finding a voice.”

That’s what Michael Mann, an AAUP member and professor of atmospheric sciences at Penn State, told the Guardian about why he participated in the March for Science on Saturday.

All in all, it was quite an Earth Day. Thousands of people came together in DC and at marches across the country to support this fact: science is real and should not be a partisan issue.

The AAUP was proud to partner with hundreds of other organizations as sponsor of the march. Here’s what some said about the march:

  • “I am a scientist. Need I say more?”
  • “I cannot think of a more important issue for university faculty than freedom of inquiry and freedom of information. That’s at the core of this march.”
  • “Because I’m a woman and a scientist. Because science is relevant to our health, the environment, and our comfort.”
  • “I don’t want what I teach to be undermined by politics.”
  • “If a scientist raises their voice in protest, in DC you get progress. That’s just elementary chaos theory.”

Check out a few photos from the marches. Share this graphic on Facebook and tell us why you joined the March for Science in the comments.

Science March photos

Thanks for marching.

Best regards,